Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Super Cycles

So, the picture is kinda skeezy, but what an amazing cycle!!! It is reported to "easily" go 50 miles and hour. The rider pedals with both hands and feet in a swimming-like motion. NASA has picked up the design for more development since it has a "perfect" center of gravity. I can't wait to try one...


A Musing on Time and Distance

Yesterday I had the occassion to drive out past Gresham, past Troutdale, almost to the very banks of the Sandy River. The drive was pleasent enough through rolling hills and nurseries on every street. Coming back was a different story, but thats neither here nor there.

The moral of the story is that my destination, Ratto Farms, lies a mere 15 miles from our house outside of Portland. Growing up in Rural Idaho, I was 10 miles from the nearest town, 15 from a slightly bigger one that actually had a grocery store, and almost 30 from Boise itself. Back in the day I would drive fifty-some-odd miles regularly to go to school and visit friends, and generally lead a social life that a somewhat awkward queer teenager is expected to lead.

And it didn't mean anything to me. It took some time sure, but it never felt like a trip. But yesterday was an expedition. Renting a car and driving a WHOLE 15 miles seemed enormous. Not to mention that it took almost a WHOLE hour to get there.

Part of a dedicated bike economy and culture is a re-localization of people and places. Riding out to Sauvie Island is 40-miles round trip and is an all day trip in my mind. Even going downtown from our home at 34th, can seem like a trek, and is only done for special events. It just amazes me to think that once upon a time a two-hour ride was normal for me. While now I being to squirm after 20 minutes in a vehicle.

I have gotten to know my neighborhood and most of the SE more than any other place I have lived, including my home of 18 years. When riding I am more cognizant of my surrondings and their changes of place. Distances all seem much greater, but that is because a mile means more to me. Not only in energy expended, time in travel, but also as something to be reconigzed not simply driven by.

In conclusion I am blessed to live in a city which is still quite human in scale.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tour de Coop 2010

Tour de Coop is coming up again, and this year we're one of the stops! Our girls are already fat and happy and the yard is shaping up nicely to look really really good by the time the tour happens.

FMI on the tour:

Saturday, July 24th, 2010 11am-3pm
East Portland

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spring Colors

The sun finally came out and wow! There are so many things that are blooming and full of color!

The fava beans are in full bloom:

Chives have been blooming for a couple weeks now:

The crimson clover is in bloom:
And the ladybugs are out too!

The strawberries we planted not too long ago are blooming:

The chickens are loving it all, they've been digging for bugs and doing quite a job of turning over the soil surface. Of course, we've had to work almost as hard making sure they aren't digging up our plants.

The lettuce and greens are finally starting to grow now that they have some sun:

I'm anxious to see how things shape up here as everything takes off in the warm weather. Our cucumber starts are ready to go out as soon as its warm enough and the tomatoes should start picking up a bit now too. We'll have plenty to do soon enough! In the mean time, we've picked up two more barrels to add to our rain catchment system so that we can collect plenty of water with the last few rains of the spring. We'll be in good shape to head into summer!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lazy Spring Days.

Good afternoon to all our readers out there!

It's an odd sort of day today. Its been an odd sort of couple weeks, actually. The weather has been wildly varying from sun and clear blue skies to dark clouds, rain, hail, and thunder and back. All in the span of 10-15 minutes. Needless to say, its made for an awkward time to be in the gardens. Our starts that are outdoors are slowly growing, but the lack of constant sun is making it hard for them to really take off. The ones indoors are starting to get a bit leggy, stretching to get as much sun as they can in our west windows. I'm afraid that if the weather doesn't pick up soon that we'll have some troubles with stunted growth this summer.

Regardless of what's going on outdoors, this has been perfect weather to be doing stuff indoors. I'm actually sitting in the window drinking some vanilla roobios tea as I write this. Of course, I spent all morning cleaning the house from top to bottom. Plenty of time for some thorough spring cleaning!
Its also a perfect time to do some reading. In an earlier post I mentioned the "Radical Homemakers". We picked up the book this weekend. It's by Shannon Hayes. I haven't started reading it yet, but you can expect to hear more about it as soon as I do! In the mean time, check out their website at:

We also picked up the book "Pedaling Revolution" by Jeff Mapes. He's a Portlander, so its been really neat to recognize the streets he talks about as he writes on "how cyclists are changing American cities." He focuses on Portland, New York City and a few other places in les-EU as well as about the Netherlands, the mecca of biking. I've only just started reading it, so I'll hold off on talking about it any more, but you can find his book at Powell's online store here:

Fair weather!